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Father and son decorating Christmas tree

Source: KidStock / Getty

If you are using an artificial Christmas tree, look for trees that are labeled “fire resistant.” Always keep it a safe distance from the fireplace.

If you’re using a live tree check for freshness. The less fresh a tree is, the dryer it is. And the dryer it gets, the easier it will become a fire hazard.

Before you flipped the switch do a safety check, look for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections. If bulbs are burned out, replace them right away and make sure you use the correct wattage bulbs. Be careful when using extension cords they can overheat, if it’s hot unplug it. Don’t use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights, which can pierce the cable and become electrified. Use insulated hooks instead. Most importantly, don’t leave Christmas lights on when you go to bed or when you leave the house.

Keep the tree stand full of water and keep the tree stand covered for the safety of your pets. According to the SPCA, tree water can be “infested with fertilizer, bacteria, and other harmful elements.” Make sure cats don’t climb the tree and tip it over. Delicate and breakable ornaments should be placed higher on the tree so curious pets don’t knock them down and possibly hurt themselves.

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